You may have a daily skin care routine that consists of our natural soaps and irritant free moisturisers that helps your skin look its best. But while you focus on what you can do for your skin on the outside, you may not realise what you can do from the inside, remember your skin is your largest organ!
Proper nutrition and diet can do wonders for the appearance of your skin and can often help combat difficult skin conditions including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
Vitamins nourish your body and help it function properly. You can get vitamins through a healthy and balanced diet, but you can also supplement your diet with vitamins if you don't think you're getting enough of a certain nutrient. When it comes to your skin, several vitamins play an important role, including vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K.
Most of these vitamins can be found in a healthy diet or in supplement form.
Our specialist researchers have prepared a directory of supplements which can be used to improve general health, well-being and can also help treat common skin complaints including eczema and psoriasis.
We cover the more readily known vitamins and their properties and some of the more obscure highly effective products.
The most major benefit of vitamin D is related to calcium absorption, but its positive effects aren’t just limited to bone health. Vitamin D is commonly used to help treat psoriasis. Calcitriol is a man-made version of vitamin D3, which is the kind of vitamin D that humans produce. Calcitriol is a topical cream that has been effective in treating patients with cases of psoriasis. In a study applying calcitriol reduced the amount of skin inflammation and irritation in patients with psoriasis and produced few adverse side effects.
There is no shortage of products on the market that claim to reduce the signs of ageing on the skin. One of the key ingredients found in many of those products is vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in skin care because of two things: its antioxidant properties and its importance in collagen synthesis. Taking vitamin C orally can enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens applied to your skin for protection from the sun's harmful UV rays. It does this by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of bodily wounds. It can also help fend off the signs of ageing because of its vital role in the body's natural collagen synthesis. It helps to heal damaged skin and, in some cases, reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E's main function in skin care is to protect against sun damage. Vitamin E absorbs the harmful UV light from the sun when applied topically. Photo-protection refers to the body's ability to minimise the damage caused by UV rays. Topical products that contain both vitamin E and vitamin C are found to be more effective in photo-protection than those that contain only one of the two. Vitamin E also helps in the treatment of skin inflammation.
Vitamin K can be found in many different topical creams for the skin, and can help treat a variety of skin conditions. Doctors frequently use creams that contain vitamin K on patients who have just undergone surgery. Vitamin K is essential in aiding the body's process of blood clotting, which helps the body heal the areas bruised during surgery. Topical creams with vitamin K can also help treat unsightly skin irritations, such as spider veins, stretch marks, scars, and dark circles under the eyes. However, research on vitamin K’s effects on the skin is more limited than that for vitamins E and C.
As vitamins are essential to your health and body functions, vitamin deficiencies can cause adverse effects on the skin. For example, a lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Since vitamins C and E play such important roles in protecting your skin from the sun, deficiencies in either vitamin can increase the risk of skin damage, including skin cancer.
Omega 3 fish oil
There is a link between Omega 3 and skin health. And so many people who take fish oil capsules do so for better skin as well as for better health.
One of the major reasons is that Omega 3 fats play a significant role in reducing inflammation in our bodies, and this is also extremely beneficial to the skin.
There’s a range of conditions that can benefit from fish oil supplementation. Studies have shown a lessening of wrinkles after some months of Omega 3 and an improvement in skin firmness.
Not only that there is a strong link between Omega 3 and dry skin improvements. Fish oil has polyunsaturated fats, and these help replenish fats lost in the skin causing skin dryness or excessive flaking.
For example dry skin caused by strong winds or sun can benefit from more fish oil to replenish the skin fats lost to exposure. The dry skin benefits of fish oil are quite pronounced.
There are also various specific skin conditions that can benefit from fish oil supplementation, for similar reasons. These include eczema and dermatitis as well as psoriasis. All these benefit from the anti-inflammatory qualities of fish oil.
One of the main fats in Omega 3 fish oil supplements in DHA, or Docosahexaenoic Acid. This is the primary polyunsaturated fat in Omega 3s that is of benefit to both our bodies and our skin. Others are also beneficial, but DHA is the most important, and it’s essential to choose a fish oil capsule that is high in DHA, not all are.
However, although fish oil is extremely healthy for us generally, and is also very good for our skin, it is still taken internally.
Your body already produces enough of the amino acid proline, so it seems unnecessary to take a supplement. Having an abundance of this amino acid, a building block of protein, in your system, though, can improve the health of your joints, the appearance of your skin and robustness of your immune system. L-proline is readily available in meat, dairy and eggs; if your diet is low in these protein sources, you may have trouble producing optimal levels of this amino acid.L-proline supplements have no known side effects.
The anti-inflammatory properties of horsetail make it an excellent remedy for rashes caused by clothing and other allergies. Cold diluted horsetail tea purifies the skin and is an effective remedy for pimples and skin prone to acne. It is used by dabbing horsetail tea on the face after thorough cleaning.
- Diuretic: Horsetail is effective in cleansing the system by triggering need for water in the body and regularising the flow of urine in the body
- Silica: High on silica, the herb effectively cures boils, acne and other skin problems including marks on the skin.
- Calcium: Horsetail is effective in strengthening the bones in the body. It is an effective means to cure joint problems and osteoporosis naturally.
Horsetail is an excellent and effective way to cure most of the health problems we face today. But it is important to use this herb as per the guidance of a nutritionist or naturopath. This ensures effectiveness of the product and prevents any side effects. Moreover it is always safe to start with small doses first to ensure it is not causing any allergy in the body. Consult a doctor if you face any negative side effects of this herb. Don’t take any adverse reaction lightly and head to the doctor straight away!
Lysine, or L-lysine, is an essential amino acid, meaning it is necessary for human health, but the body cannot make it. You have to get lysine from food or supplements. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein. Lysine is important for proper growth, and it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol. Lysine appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendons, and cartilage.
Most people get enough lysine in their diet. Although athletes, burn patients, and vegans who do not eat beans may need more. If you do not have enough lysine, you may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slow growth
- Reproductive disorders
For vegans, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are the best sources of lysine.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
Some studies suggest that taking lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes. Others show no improvement. Lysine has antiviral effects by blocking the activity of arginine, which promotes HSV replication. One review found that oral lysine is more effective at preventing an HSV outbreak than it is at reducing the severity and duration of an outbreak. One study found that taking lysine at the beginning of a herpes outbreak did not reduce symptoms. Most experts believe that lysine does not improve the healing of cold sores. But supplementation may reduce recurrences or improve symptoms.
Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and reduces the amount of calcium that is lost in urine. Since calcium is crucial for bone health, some researchers think lysine may help prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis. Lab studies suggest that lysine in combination with L-arginine (another amino acid) makes bone-building cells more active and enhances production of collagen. But no studies have examined whether lysine helps prevent osteoporosis in humans.
Athletes sometimes use lysine as a protein supplement. Some studies suggest lysine helps muscle tissue recover after stress.
Good sources of lysine include foods that are rich in protein, such as:
- Meat, specifically red meat, pork, and poultry
- Cheese, particularly parmesan
- Certain fish, such as cod and sardines
- Soybeans, particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour
- Fenugreek seed
Brewer's yeast, beans and other legumes, and dairy products also contain lysine.
What is it?
Though the name sounds intimidating, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is basically sulphur and it is in our bodies, as well as in some plants. To add a bit more colour, it is composed of sulphur, oxygen and methyl. In the presence of ozone and ultraviolet light, MSM (along with dimethyl sulfoxide) is formed from dimethyl sulphide, taken up into the atmosphere, returned to the earth in rainfall, and taken into the root systems of plants. As such, MSM can be found in small quantities in a variety of foods.
Sulphur represents about 0.25 percent of our total body weight, similar to potassium.
What does it do to the skin?
MSM is sometimes described as “nature's beauty mineral”. Research has shown that MSM has the ability to enhance collagen bundles and keratin, the important stuff in our skin, hair and nails.
Keratin, present in the skin, hair, and nails, is particularly high in the amino acid cystine, which is found in sulphur. Apparently, it is the sulphur bond in keratin that gives it greater strength. Sulphur is also present in two B vitamins, thiamine and biotin. Interestingly, thiamine is important to skin and biotin to hair. Sulphur is important to cellular respiration, as it is needed in the oxidation-reduction reactions that help the cells utilise oxygen.
Research by The US based University of Maryland concurs that MSM also helps form connective tissue in skin.
It is believed that MSM might help rosacea, noting that a cream containing MSM and silymarin seems to improve skin colour and other symptoms of rosacea. Indeed, sulphur is widely used to treat acne and other skin disorders.
Sulphur also acts as a skin whitener, at least certain sulphur containing amino acids do It is claimed (mostly in patent applications) that MSM may increase the production of pheomelanin, the melanin that is found in fair-skinned people, relative to eumelanin. MSM is a naturally occurring form of sulphur and its application is supposed to increase intracellular sulphur levels, which causes dopaquinone to be diverted towards pheomelanin production.
Absorption enhancer, MSM may help other active ingredients penetrate the skin. It is said that because MSM makes the cells more permeable, it enhances the absorption of nutrients, there is a credible connection between MSM and hair growth.
Collagen is found in over 75% of the skin where it works to maintain skin tone, suppleness and elasticity. After the age of 25, collagen synthesis reduces by 1.5% per year, which means that by the age of 45 collagen levels have fallen by as much as 30%. The external effects of this process include the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin. Collagen supplements can help to replenish the skin's supply and maintain firm and youthful looking skin.
The beneficial characteristics of the fish collagen peptide form of collagen
- Fish collagen is easily digested and absorbed in the body
- Fish collagen has little or no smell
- Fish collagen dissolves in water
- Fish collagen has an overall low allergy potential
Fish collagen peptide consists of small peptide molecules in the range of 3,000 and 5,000 daltons. Its absorption in the small intestine is superior to other collagen products due to its smaller molecule size, which leads to a more efficient collagen synthesis. Because of these advantages in absorption, fish collagen peptide is becoming the collagen of choice for skin care supplements to improve skin smoothness, elasticity, moisture, and to also slow down the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. 1.
Reference and research documents
- Matsuda, et al., (2006) Effects of ingestion of collagen peptide on collagen fibrils and glycosaminoglycans in the dermis. J Nutri Sci Vitaminol 52: 211-215
- Postlethwaite AE., Seyer JM., Kang AH., (1978) Chemotactic attraction of human fibroblasts to type I, II, and III collagens and collagen derived peptides. Proc Acad Sci USA 75: 871-875
- Sumida E., (2004) The effects of oral ingestion of collagen peptide on skin hydration and biochemical data of blood. Journal of Nutritional Food 7 (3): 45-52
- Hitoshi Matsumoto, et al., (2006) Clinical effects of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on skin properties. ITE Letters on batteries, new technologies and medicine, 7 (4)
- Morganti P., Randazzo SD., Bruno C., (1988) Oral treatment of skin dryness. Cosmet Toilet 103: 77-80
- Iwal K., Hasegawa T., Taguchi Y., et al., (2006) Identification of food-derived collagen peptides in human blood after oral ingestion of gelatin hydrolysates. J Agric Food Chem 53: 6531-6535